Thursday, February 22, 2024

Three Poem Drafts

 The Consolations of Discomfort

A deer is bounding, forest-hidden,
a hunter races forth with speed.
On hill, through dale, pursuit unending,
a rest I seek to quell my need.
The wind, inconstant, plays and teases
through boughs and leaves of restless trees,
and I, inconstant, ever-driven,
am seeking emptiness to please.
The bow sends out a sudden arrow;
the deer untouched it passes by;
this craving, driving, heart's own yearning
through paths of empty air will fly.
I stumble, stutter, and am clumsy
as feet are aching, worn and sore;
the pain is like a close companion,
a memory of something more.
Exhaustion makes my heart grow humble
as weariness impedes my pride,
reminds me of my ache-filled folly,
of Adam old who has not died.
The legs exhausted homeward wander;
in ache I wish to reach my end.
The weary roads are swiftest highways
and heavenward most surely bend.

Morris in Ashdown

The boots are on and the bells a-song
where the feet are quick on the Ashdown lawn;
the flutes are bright and the banners white
as the sticks a-play in the dawning light
make the day aflame in the morning.

The world that sings as the white flags fling
is a holy thing and a court for kings;
and you and I with our hats a-fly
are the truly crowned 'neath a splendid sky
as the day is bright in the morning.

On Montale's Translations of Shakespeare

With blandishment on thereby gilded peaks
the eye of morning shines in sovereign sway,
flirting with meadows green and gold,
by some strange alchemy turning base to noble.
Then fumes rise and cloud that heavenly brow;
the star in shame flees desolately westward,
hiding in obscurity its now-veiled face.
--- At dawn I knew the sun; and victory,
his victory, shone brightly upon me,
but only for one hour, alas, he stayed,
thus rapt into twisted and entangled clouds.
I contemn him not; surely a sun terrestrial
is allowed to darken like a sun celestial.